The Golden Tweet of Germany
Here's the Glockenspiel on Munich. Set at the foot of the Bavarian Alps. the city is a mix of rustic tradition, modern life and at times, a somber history. And while one should never forget history, lest be condemned to repeat, we'll focus on what makes Munich a destination for beer lovers, believers in fairy tales and Christmas gift shoppers. And for those wishing to travel to Munich and beyond, be sure to get a German Rail Pass!
First, the spiel on the Rathaus-Glockenspiel. Located in the 800+ year-old Marienplatz, or central square in the city center. This huge mechanical clock has 43 bells and 32 life-sized figurines that come to life in a 260-foot tower, reenacting two scenes from Munich's history. The whole show lasts about 15 minutes, culminating in the appearance of a small golden bird chirping three times. And the crowd goes wild. Show up at 11am to see this “tweet” show.
Munich is best known the world over for its incredibly rambunctious Oktoberfest. For 16 days, the city becomes a giant keg party. For years, the fest has followed a traditional calendar of events. On the first Saturday, the tapping of the first beer barrel by the Munich Mayor. On the last Sunday, fireworks commence in the Theresienwiese, the fest's main field. In the days between, find millions of revelers clinking beer steins together, chugging and chanting “O'zapft is!”
With a decidedly different crowd, the Christkindlmarkt is one of Europe's best Christmas markets dating from the 14th century. Offering stalls and stalls filled with trinkets like handmade nutcrackers and nesting dolls, you'll stay warm by sipping mulled "glühwein" and feeling the charm or "gemütlichkeit" from locals.
Munich's location allows travelers to take advantage of easy rail travel to lakes, forests and metropolitan cities such as Salzburg. Zurich or Vienna along with easy access to the famous Romantic Road. a picturesque journey through the medieval villages of lower Germany.
And speaking of romance, it's hard not to fall in love upon sight of Neuschwanstein Castle. a Romanesque Revival Palace high above the village of Hohenschwangau. The fairy-tale palace was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a personal refuge for the king, but after his death, the Castle was opened to the public. More than one million people visit annually, not only for its enchanted appearance, but its uncanny resemblance to Disney's Sleeping Beauty's Castle.
The main train station in München Hauptbahnhof. where you can catch the high speed InterCityExpress and EuroCity trains to most parts of Germany, as well as Austria, Switzerland, France and Italy.
With a beer in your belly and the Christmas spirit in your heart, Munich is a destination to make any traveler's dreams come true. This could be your happily ever after.
Contributed by: Kathryn, who works with our web department, has traveled extensively throughout Europe – utilizing all forms of public transportation!